Show Notes: Clean Up, Be Safe, Save Money – On the House

Show Notes: Clean Up, Be Safe, Save Money

By on March 18, 2017

Show Notes: Clean Up, Be Safe and Save Money

Start  spring  by saving money on your landscaping. Have questions about fueling your power garden equipment? We have tips for safe fueling just in time for spring yard clean up. Spring cleaning includes the air conditioner, too.

Thank you to todays guests:

Rod Mills – Reborn Bath

Steve Yurko – Touch Of Orange                                


3 Carbon Monoxide Alarms Named ‘Don’t Buy: Safety Risk’ By Consumer Reports

Tested alarms purchased on Amazon and eBay did not have UL certification and were faulty

In Consumer Reports’ most recent tests of carbon monoxide alarms, three similar-looking off-brand alarms failed critical performance tests and have been rated Don’t Buy: Safety Risk. All three were purchased from online retailers:

  • NetBoat WB_H3110061 LCD Portable Security Gas CO Carbon Poisoning Monitor (Amazon)
  • Foho YJ-806 LCD Portable Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Monitor Alarm (Amazon)
  • GoChange 882 LCD Portable Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Monitor Alarm (eBay)

On average, an estimated 148 people in the United States die each year from accidental exposure to carbon monoxide produced by consumer products such as gas furnaces and ranges. Because carbon monoxide alarms are a critical line of defense against accidental poisoning, it’s imperative that they work properly.

Consumer Reports is unaware of any death or injury linked to these three models.

Consumer Reports tests CO alarms for their sensitivity at different concentrations of carbon monoxide because even a relatively low concentration can be dangerous if the exposure is over a long enough period of time.

Two of these alarms failed to sound when exposed to carbon monoxide at a concentration of 100 parts per million: the GoChange and the NetBoat. An alarm should sound within 40 to 165 minutes at that level of exposure.

Additionally, the GoChange alarm failed to sound when exposed to carbon monoxide concentrations of 400 parts per million—a level at which an alarm should sound within 4 to 15 minutes. The NetBoat model did sound an alarm at this higher concentration, but did so after an average of only 30 seconds, instead of the recommended 4 to 15 minutes, which poses a different risk.

“Models that alarm too quickly make it more likely that a consumer would remove the batteries or disconnect the alarm to stop nuisance alarms,” says Bernie Deitrick, Consumer Reports test engineer. “That can leave people unprotected in dangerous situations.”


Money-Saving Tips For Landscaping

 A yard with a beautiful landscape is one of the few home investments with a value that increases over the years. Buyers love mature plants and trees, so giving your yard some love even if you’re not planning on selling for a few years is a smart way to go. What’s even smarter? Employing these money-saving tips:

Free mulch

Many municipalities recycle the yard waste they pick up curbside throughout the year into mulch, which is then made available to residents for free or a very low price. Surrounding your shrubs and trees with a layer of the stuff not only makes them stand out visually, it also helps conserve moisture and stave off bugs.

Look to the list

Craigslist’s “farm and garden” section can be a treasure trove of outdoor planters, border stones and even “used” trees and shrubs. Check here first before heading to the nursery.

Go big with your neighbors

Bedding plants are often less expensive when you buy them in bulk.


Instead of buying bags of fertilizer, generate your own black gold for gardens by composting your kitchen waste. It’s not as hard – or smelly – as you’d think.

Chat with a master

Master gardeners often hold free Q&A sessions at garden centers or local libraries. Before investing in new plants, seeds or shrubs, check with an expert to find which options will thrive without expensive maintenance.

Rein it in

Trim back any trees, shrubs or vines that hide or overwhelm your windows, porch or patio. Sometimes the most effective landscaping upgrade can come from removing greenery, not adding it.

Pull your weeds.

It’s the outdoor equivalent of de-cluttering your home, an inexpensive way to boost your yard’s visual appeal.

Power wash fences and patios

It can take years off your fence and patio in just minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much brighter they’ll look with just a bit of effort that requires little more skill than running a vacuum. Rent a machine at your local home improvement box store for about $30.


The Lifespan Of Faucet

 Modern kitchen and bath faucets are generally well engineered and can easily last a decade or more depending on what type you have and factors such as how hard your water is. Many people choose to replace faucets as a design decision when remodeling, but there are more practical reasons that may lead you to replace a faucet. These include:

When its finish is worn away and its handle discolored or cracked.

The threads on the aerator or spout are worn or corroded, making aerator replacement difficult.

Its internal parts are so worn that replacement washers, O rings, screws, clips, and valve assembly simply don’t solve the problem any longer.

If any or all of these symptoms are happening with your faucet,

it’s time to go shopping,


Spring Cleaning For Your Air Conditioning System

 When most homeowners think of spring time, they think of spring cleaning and home maintenance. One more item homeowners should add to their home maintenance list this year is their air conditioning system. Pre-season cooling system maintenance and upgrades will help achieve maximum energy efficiency and savings when the summer heat hits. Jennifer Franz, a Lennox energy efficiency expert, offers the following simple ways to “spring clean” an existing air conditioning system, and tips on how to tell if it’s time to replace equipment, before the busy season is in full swing:

Go with the Flow: Leaves, weeds and grass collect on the outdoor condenser unit during the fall and winter months, resulting in blocked air flow and reduced energy efficiency. Clearing debris will allow for unrestricted airflow to better cool the home and improve the systems efficiency, reducing operating costs, keeping the air clean, and increasing energy savings. In addition, changing standard air filters once a month (other types, such as pleated and HEPA filters, have longer life spans) is the single most important thing homeowners can do to prevent a system from working harder than it needs to, which saves homeowners money on electricity bills.

Keep Your Cool: It’s also important to ensure ductwork is clean and in good condition. Even if a homeowner keeps their air conditioning system clean, they might still be letting air – and dollars – escape. Adding easy-to-use blow-in insulation will reduce the amount of heat that flows from outdoors into the home, which will lower cooling costs and make the home more comfortable.

Set it and Forget it: Homeowners can get a jump start on the summer season by installing a smart thermostat, such as the Lennox iComfort S30. The iComfort S30 uses geofencing technology to save homeowners money on their energy bills. Its Smart Away Mode detects when a home’s occupants are away and automatically adjusts to an energy saving mode.

Spring also is a good time for homeowners to inspect and repair loose siding and seal windows and doors with caulk and weather stripping. This will keep cool air from escaping and increase energy efficiency.


Outdoor Power Equipment Institute Tips For Safe Fueling

Here are safety tips to help homeowners:

Tip #1: Read your owner’s manual and follow all fueling guidelines for your outdoor power equipment. Familiarize yourself with the controls. If you have lost your manual, look it up online.

Tip #2 Drain old fuel. Don’t leave fuel sitting in the tank for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline (without a fuel stabilizer) left in the system will deteriorate, which may cause starting or running problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system.

Tip #3: Only use E10 or less fuel. Some gas stations may offer 15 percent ethanol (E15) gas or higher ethanol fuel blends, but any fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol can damage–and is illegal to use in– small engine equipment not designed for it.

Tip #4: Label your fuel can with the date of purchase and ethanol content of the fuel. Never put “old” gas in your outdoor power equipment. If you don’t know the date of purchase, dispose safely of the fuel in the can and buy fresh fuel.

Tip #5: Inspect your equipment. Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Replace any parts needed or take your equipment to a qualified service representative.

Tip #6: Clean your equipment. Remove any dirt, oil or grass stuck to it. A clean machine will run more efficiently and last longer.


Website Mentions:

QuFresh by Air King Fresh Air Supply FAS

Chimney Balloon | Balloon for Fireplace Draft Stopper

Cleaning Up After A Fire | American Red Cross:

A Touch of Oranges:

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